International Monetary Fund (IMF)Warns Covid-19 Health Crisis Sending Global Economy Into Greatest Collapse Since the Great Depression

April 17th, 2020 Comments off

The IMF has issued a chilling forecast in its just released 2020 World Economic Outlook. According to the report, the world will experience its sharpest downturn in economic activity since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Though the report is projecting a modest recovery in 2021, this is sheer guesswork, as nobody has any idea of the future progression of the health crisis precipitated by the coronavirus.

Dire news emerged from the world’s largest economy in the wake of the sobering IMF report. The Census Bureau reported that retail sales in the United States fell by a staggering 8.7 % in March; this was the steepest decline since the Census Bureau began tracking this data in 1992.

On April 16 the U.S. Labor Department issued its weekly jobless claims report , more than 5.2 million American workers filed new unemployment claims. In a period of only 3-weeks, more than 22 million workers joined the ranks of the unemployed. This eliminates all the employment gains in the American economy over the past decade. And this all occurred in only three-weeks.

Economic and employment data from many other economies, developed and emerging, was equally dismal. This all validates the growing consensus among economists that the global economic crisis created by the unprecedented demand and employment destruction sparked by the covid-19 pandemic will be far worse than the global financial crisis of 2007-08, and may very well rival the Great Depression of the 1930s in its severity.

The New York Times Warns In Editorial That The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic Will Get “Much Worse”

April 14th, 2020 Comments off

In its editorial of April 14, 2020, which The New York Times entitled “The Global Coronavirus Crisis Is Poised to Get Much, Much Worse,” it was pointed out that while Covid-19 is currently ravaging primarily the wealthier nations of the northern hemisphere, it will soon strike the impoverished nations of the Third World.

In its editorial, The New York Times states the following:

 

 

What probably lies ahead is the spread of the coronavirus through countries ravaged by conflict, through packed refugee camps  and detention centers in places like Syria or Bangladesh, through teeming cities like Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro or Monrovia, where social distancing is impossible and government is not trusted, through countries without the fiscal capacity or health services to mount a viable response.

That would be disastrous not only for them but also for the rest of the world as supplies of raw materials are disrupted, fragile economies collapse, strongmen grow stronger and the virus doubles back to reinfect northern regions.

 

 

 

This is a nightmare scenario, but one not only plausible, but actually highly probable. The form of the human misery that will afflict poorer nations in this next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic will worsen the global economic crisis that has been unleashed by the coronavirus.

Should the pandemic lead to a collapse of medical systems and economies throughout the Third World, a likely result will be an unprecedented wave of Covid-19 refugees seeking perceived safer havens of developed economies, which themselves will be ill-prepared for the consequences of such radical population movements. This will further exacerbate-and lengthen- the extent and severity of what is both a massive global health crisis and increasingly a devastating global economic tsunami.

U.S. Unemployment Rate Continues to Skyrocket As Economic Crisis Induced By Covid-19 Pandemic Devastates Global Economy

April 9th, 2020 Comments off

 

The U.S. Labor Department just released its weekly number of jobless claims, and in a mocking twist of painful irony, the figures were an exact match for the previous week: 6.6. million additional jobless applications. This means that over the past three weeks, 16 million Americans have filed unemployment claims, adding another 10 percent to the unemployment rate in the United States, which now stands at just under 14%.

Never in history, not even during the Great Depression of the 1930s, has there been such a rapid rise in unemployment. The collapse of the job market in the U.S. has been replicated in virtually every advanced economy. This means that the health crisis created by policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic has now unleashed a destructive global economic crisis of unparalleled dimensions. And this is only the beginning. In the weeks ahead, the economic news will only get worse.

Such a swift collapse in employment numbers mean two simultaneous tsunamis of economic doom have been unleashed: an unprecedented rate of demand destruction, combined with an implosion in governmental revenues across the globe. The latter trend, at a time of increasingly vast deficit spending by sovereigns, will in due course unleash another wave of economic calamity; a sovereign debt crisis.

Never before in human history has a public health crisis created in its wake such economic calamity, resulting in the Global Economic Crisis of 2020.

Henry Kissinger Writes in Wall Street Journal Piece That Coronavirus Pandemic Could Bring Global Economic Doom For Generations

April 5th, 2020 Comments off

In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, the 96-year old former Secretary of State, Henry Kissing, issued a dire warning on the long-term ruinous impact of the global economic crisis unleashed by the covid-19 pandemic. There was an urgency in Kissinger’s message , in which he stressed the need for a rapid development of a vaccine for coronavirus, and that the monumental effort needed cannot be done by the United Sates alone; international cooperation will be essential.

The global economic crisis created by the pandemic must be dealt with or, in the words of Kissinger, “Failure could set the world on fire, ” condemning generations to economic doom. In addition, shortcomings revealed in governmental responses to the coronavirus pandemic have undermined public confidence in public institutions, and this must be urgently addressed to protect the liberal world order.

The tone of Kissinger’s piece in the Wall Street Journal was dire, being an urgent for far-reaching action to avoid a much greater human calamity.

6.6.Million Americans Workers File Unemployment Claims As U.S. Faces Economic Collapse Due To Covid-19 Pandemic

April 2nd, 2020 Comments off

The U.S. Labor Department released this morning its weekly report on jobless claims. The data shows last week’s record-setting 3.3 million claims has doubled this week to more than 6.6. million. This number exceeds not only the global financial crisis of 2007-09, but even the Great Depression of the 1930s, in the rapidity of job destruction.

The coronavirus pandemic has now unleashed a severe global economic crisis of catastrophic proportions. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. With a vaccine at least a year, and more likely 18 months , away from development and production, the entire planet is the grips of not only a massive health crisis, but a virtual meltdown of economic activity.

As the pace of jobs destruction accelerates, demand is also being annihilated, compounding the depth and pace of economic contraction. Undoubtedly, this will also generate a severe financial shock globally, as equities collapse, bond spreads widen and sovereign and corporate debt insolvency rampages with destructive ferocity.

 

Global Economic Crisis Worsens As Covid-19 Pandemic Unleashes Massive Debt Crisis – U.S. Budget Deficit Will Likely Exceed 20 Percent of GDP

April 2nd, 2020 Comments off

As the coronavirus ravages our planet, decimating economies large and small in its wake, it distinguishes itself from the 2007-09 global financial crisis in this way: it is an economic disaster brought on by a health crisis, as opposed to the GFC, where economies were harmed by a major financial crisis. However, this distinction will soon vanish, for the following reasons.

The enforced shutdown of the global economy created by the health response to the Covid-19 panic has led to massive spikes in unemployment, at a faster pace than even during the Great Depression of the 1930s, while businesses large and small are shuttered, severely constricting activity, while households are on the verge of insolvency. To prevent complete economic and societal collapse, sovereigns have launched emergency stimulus measures, at unprecedented levels of deficit spending, typically in the range of 10 to 15 % of GDP, as in the United States with Congress recently passing a 2 trillion dollar stimulus bill (representing ten percent of pre-crisis GDP).

However, with millions of workers now jobless and corporate activity at a near standstill, tax revenue from personal and corporate income, as well as capital gains, will shrink precipitously.

Before the onset of the coronavirus crisis, the U.S. economy, supposedly operating at its best level of performance, and with unemployment at a record low, was still requiring an annual budget deficit of one trillion dollars to fund federal government operating costs. Factoring everything we now know, the actual U.S. government deficit for the current fiscal year will be substantially higher than 20 %.

Should large developed economies such as the United States run annual deficits in the range of 20 percent of a shrinking GDP, notwithstanding debt monetization by the Federal Reserve and other central banks, a sovereign debt crisis of unparalleled dimensions will complement the Covid-19 pandemic in its negative impact on the global economy, and endure long after a vaccine is developed for coronavirus.

The increasingly likely sovereign debt crisis makes it more certain that the global economic crisis will not only be long-lasting, but will manifest the characteristics of an economic depression as opposed to a less virulent recession. Furthermore, long-term monetary measures a sovereign debt crisis will compel policymakers to implement will heighten the risk of severe global inflation, leading to a period of prolonged stagflation.

 

Global Economic Crisis Unleashed by Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic Sends Oil Prices Into Free Fall Collapse

March 28th, 2020 Comments off

The quarantines and shutdown of economic life precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the global oil industry. This is due to demand destruction occurring in the wake of panic responses to the coronavirus outbreak. Since the beginning of the year, oil prices have plunged from one half to around two thirds from their peak. On March 27, West Texas intermediate fell nearly 5 % from the previous day, to $21.51 per barrel, while Brent Crude was priced at $27.95. Lower grades of crude have plummeted to below $20.00 per barrel.

The collapse in oil prices has accelerated a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia for market share amid declining demand, further exacerbating downward price pressures.

A global economic crisis that seems increasingly likely to become another great depression spells doom for the oil industry. However, there is one wild card; a war breaking out between Iran and the United States, which economist Nouriel Roubini sees as a high-probability event. This would create a supply shock to complement the demand shock to the global economy that has already occurred, reversing the decline in oil prices and sending them to record highs, at least temporarily before plummeting again. This would unleash a wave of inflation, leading to stagflation: negative growth combined with high inflation. That in turn would further depress economic activity, and impede a recovery in the global economy even after an effective Covid-19 vaccine has become widely available.

U.S. Job Market Implodes As More Than Three Million File For Unemployment, Pointing To A 21st Century Great Depression

March 26th, 2020 Comments off

The U.S. Labor Department released its worst weekly jobs report, demonstrating that the Covid-19 pandemic has unleashed a full-fledged global economic crisis more severe than the financial crisis of 2007-09, and increasingly likely to exceed the Great Depression of the 1930s in its impact.

Since the Labor Department began issuing its weekly jobless claims report in 1967, the previous record for unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982. The expectation was that the report released today would be very bad, most estimates being in the range of one million. The actual number: 3.3 million. This is worse than devastating; it is a clear sign that we are beyond a severe global recession, and are almost certainly heading into a global economic depression.

As this is only the initial phase of the impact of the coronavirus induced unemployment, the figures just released by the Labor Department suggests the unemployment rate will likely exceed 20 %, possibly even 30 percent. It is not just the U.S. shedding jobs at an unprecedented rate; the entire global economy is being struck by a tsunami of jobs destruction. This economic catastrophe will inevitably lead to a level of severe social and political strife not experienced globally since the 1930s.

 

Global Economy On The Abyss of a Greater Depression Says Leading Economist Nouriel Roubini

March 25th, 2020 Comments off

In a chilling yet cogently delivered live Twitter lecture on likely economic trends stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, NYU professor and economist Nouriel Roubini gave a harsh yet realistic overview on the unfolding crisis. Professor Roubini was one of the few economists to predict the global financial crisis that occurred more than a decade ago.

The views Roubini relayed in his Twitter presentation can be summed up as follows:

  1. The health policy response will determine whether or not the world faces a severe recession or a greater depression. A global recession worse than the 2007-09 global financial crisis is already baked into the cake. However, perusing a mitigation strategy to contain the coronavirus pandemic will ensure the global economy heads into a severe depression. Only a suppression strategy as implemented by China initially and now Italy can prevent the worst economic damage. Though a suppression strategy that shuts down the economy for 2 or 3 months is very painful, a mitigation strategy will ensure that Covid-19 spreads like wildfire, leading to a temporary reopening of the economy followed by further and deeper shutdowns. Roubini urges policymakers to adapt draconian suppression measures as the only alternative to far more calamitous economic collapse.
  2. The right policy responses will be crucial to preventing a greater depression. The current wave of unprecedented monetary and fiscal measures, adapted in a very short timeframe, are correct. In particular , very large fiscal deficits equivalent to ten percent of GDP, which in turn are fully monetized by the central banks, are necessary in the short-term. However, such extraordinary measures are unsustainable in the long-term, and will lead to stagflation.
  3. The health emergency crippling the global economy is not the only shock confronting it. Roubini identified a geopolitical depression exacerbated by revisionist powers (China, Russia, Iran and North Korea) seeking to further destabilize the United States through cyber warfare. In particular, the emerging cold war between China and the U.S. is leading to decoupling of supply chains and de-globalization, which will increase costs of production and hence inflation.
  4. Professor Roubini sees a great risk that Iran’s regime will initiate a full-scale war with the United States as the only means of preserving itself from being overthrown, if Trump is reelected and the economic sanctions lead to its collapse. Such conflict will close the straits of Hormuz, leading to a massive spike in oil prices.

In summary, a sobering and harshly realistic analysis of the global economic crisis now underway.

Economist Nouriel Roubini Warns Emerging Global Economic Crisis Will Be Possibly Worse Than Great Depression

March 24th, 2020 Comments off

Perhaps the most insightful economist to watch as the Global Economic Crisis unleashed by the Covid-19 pandemic rages is Nouriel Roubini, economics professor at New York University. In the months leading up to the 2008 global financial crisis , his predictions were eerily accurate. Now he has published an essay on what is unfolding regarding the Coronavirus pandemic induced economic disaster on the Project Syndicate website, entitled ominously “A Greater Depression?”

I urge ever sensible person to read it; the link is: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/coronavirus-greater-great-depression-by-nouriel-roubini-2020-03?

 

Among the points Professor Roubini makes is that the collapse in stock markets has greatly exceed in velocity not only what occurred during the global financial crisis of 2008, but also during the Great Depression during the 1930s. While other prognosticators are predicting a U or L or worst case V trajectory and recovery, Roubini views such happy talk as delusional. He sees every indicator as pointing to a global economy in unrestrained free fall. The hope for an eventual recovery lies in a host of unconventional monetary and fiscal measures. However, as he observes, there are a host of probable white swan events and negative political realities that will likely obstruct the unprecedented policymaking the now full-fledged Global Economic Crisis requires.